Drone Cargo May Be the Answer to Infrastructural Problems in Africa

Africa is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. But, while the rise in trade is boosting airfreight, infrastructural problems remain. Studies show that drones will be able to cater for 10 to 20% of regional cargo transportation in the future. Vincent Chappard reports.

Data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for global airfreight markets show a very modest increase in September. On a continental basis, African carriers experienced demand growth of 2.5% and capacity rose by 8.1%. Regional trade generated increases in the volumes.

There is huge scope for cargo, even if only 15% of trade is inter African. Many people believe drone cargo will prove to be the sustainable answer because of Africa’s sparse road networks.

“Throwing time-dependent goods into the sky and moving them about with a flying robot is a good idea in Africa and beyond,” said Jonathan Ledgard, director of the future Africa initiative at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and founder of the RedLine project. The first commercial cargo drone port will be operational in 2016 in Rwanda.

The route will be about 80 kilometres long and will connect several towns and villages. The first cargo drones will carry small payloads of two kilos and will serve hospitals and humanitarian emergencies. Read more

Source: africanaerospace.aero; image: atomdrones.com